Earlier this month our team attended G-STAR in the lovely Busan, South Korea, and like every year, the event attracted tens of thousands of avid gamers from all over South Korea as well as from the rest of SEA, as well as hundreds of networks, agencies, and advertisers to the B2B hall. In this short article, I’ll discuss a few trends we’ve noticed during the exhibition from our conversations with the largest and most prominent players in the Korean market, as well as insights we inferred by comparing this year’s exhibition to the few last ones.
Koreans seem to adore VR
While the consumer response and adoption rate in the west seem to be decent at best, Koreans seem to be extremely into VR. Around 35% of all exhibitors had at least some VR game presented at their booth, and roughly 20% of all exhibitors were VR game developers. From discussions we had with our Korean partners during the event we learned that a significant portion of the population under the age 35 has paid to play VR games at more than once in stations placed in shopping malls and central areas across Korea by companies like VR Zone. AR had a noticeable presence as well. Korea, like Japan, has become a country of early adopters and it seems that they cooperate with the illusion that VR and AR try to create, and they seem to be falling head over heels for it, compared to western consumers that don’t seem to be that excited.
Questions regarding observer safety arise from footage captured on site:
(wait for it!)
As it is happening in many other high-tech industries as well as ad-tech in the west, we’ve also noticed that in every passing year we see the prominent gaming players growing in size and the smaller ones dwindling in numbers and disappearing. Competition is growing more and more fierce by the month, and those who can’t keep up with the technology and also establish key relationships get bought out if they’re lucky and close shop if they aren’t.
Playable ads are very effective in Korea
Almost all of the advertisers we’ve met during G-STAR and not just the Gaming ones had quite a few questions about Playable Ads. From the conversations we’ve had we reaffirmed what we already know from our data – users like interacting with ads, and when the ads are done correctly from a gameplay flow point of view, they convert better than basically any other ad unit.
As usual, we enjoyed our time in Korea, were very happy with the exhibition and the meetings we had with our partners and prospects. In 2018, we plan to significantly expand our business and presence in Korea.
See you next year!